"This is me telling my story because the best way to reach somebody is to relate to them," he suggests. "We've all lived life, we've all had good times, we've all had bad times, we've all had struggles and triumphs, trials and tribulations. The things I'm saying and the stuff I've gone through can relate to anybody. And musically, you just gotta make that stuff thump bro. Everything about it musically just has to understand what's poppin' and what's happening in the culture of hip-hop right now. I love trap music, I love East Coast hip-hop boom bap music, I love Southern Atlanta music and I love radio music. I also listen to reggae 'cause I'm Jamaican. I love it because the foundation of reggae music is all about unity, peace and love. It's just knowing what's relevant and really going in and just killing it."
The evidence comes throughout virtually every shift in style throughout Steven Malcolm, starting with the lead single "Hot Boy," an immediate anthem destined to light up the charts as quite possibly this year's answer to Fetty Wap's instant cultural cornerstone "Trap Queen" (or if Steven has his way, anything Travis Scott ever touched). "It's funny 'cause I had a girl ask me what's a 'Hot Boy?' when we were in the studio," he remembers. "And basically what I want people to take home is whatever you're passionate about, whatever it is that you do, there has to be a burning hot passion inside of your heart to really excel and be the best that God has created you to be. I feel like if God has given you a gift and you're just using it in a mediocre way or giving mediocre potential to it, it's a waste of that talent. There has to be a fire in your heart to really excel and be the best you can be at it."
Other standouts include "Cereal," easily the most comical, catchy and completely autobiographical ode to Captain Crunch and company since alternative rockers the Newsboys served "Breakfast," along with the uplifting "Never Let You Go," a collaboration with former Group 1 Crew member turned soulful solo star Blanca. Though most of the tracks are recorded solo under the direction of all-star production duo Cobra (Joseph Prielozny and Dirty Rice), Steven is also quick to give a shout out to Hollyn and Andy Mineo, who are both guests on one of his favorites. "Another track that's super dope is 'Party In The Hills' and it's gonna be big because it's a super energetic West Coast track," he asserts of the latter triple team. "We should be thankful for even waking up everyday, but also always set out to accomplish our goals and really go hard to the point where we start seeing the fruit."
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Fire (feat. Papa San)
Party In The Hills (feat. Andy Mineo & Hollyn)
Out of the Gate Firing| Posted February 22, 2017
4 For 5 Records is Word Records' brand new hip hop imprint. Word has recognized the impact that hip hop is making on a global scale. Producer and musician Joseph Prielzony oversees the imprint, aided by his impressive resume and ear for music. The first round draft pick of the label is Steven Malcolm. He hit the ground running first as part of the Winter Jam tour and now with his self-titled album. Hard hitting beats, clean flow, trap music and an impressive list of guests help to boost this already promising artist.
Lead single "Hot Boy" is definitely a banger with the trap beat and the signature staccato-styled flow that frequently goes with a song of this nature. Some may find this song a little braggadocious and may misunderstand Steven, but paired with songs like "Never Let You Go (feat. Bianca)," it's clear that there is no way that he should be judged by one song.
One thing you will not find is an album full of double entendres and really heavy lyrics. However, you will find that relatable topics, songs to turn up to and fun tracks are all there. Head nodding is a must on "Feel Me," and his flow is impressive as Steven wonders if people will understand his message of hope. The boom bip is strong on "Six Four," while listeners might notice that Steven falls into the Andy Mineo flow on this one and a few others. This should subside as he grows and continues to carve his own niche.
Things turn up with the dancehall reggae-tinged "Fire (featuring Beam)." "Party in the Hills (feat. Andy Mineo and Hollyn)" is the put your tops down pre-summer jam with a high energy beat accented by the synths and guitars weaving in and out. Houston rapper Pyrexx helps to get things popping on "Leh Get It" to complete an unexpected but dope collaboration. Steven Malcom pays homage to his strong affection for "Cereal," which should be a fun song to chuckle about.
Steven gets candid and expresses his regret for premarital sex on "The Struggle," even speaking on the struggle to live a pure life. Now, he is dead set on living pure until marriage. I would be remiss if I did not mention the job that Scootie does with his falsetto-laced hook. This brother kills it.
The Bottom Line: This is a strong debut for Steven Malcolm, and he will continue to grow artistically and spiritually. He has a lot of music to ride to and songs that expose his humanity. This is only the beginning for this promising artist.
Song to Download Now:
"Party in the Hills" (Get it on iTunes here.)
A Debut On Fire| Posted February 16, 2017 Steven Malcolm has made it his goal to become the best Christian rapper in the game. The Grand Rapids-based lyricist made waves when he exploded onto the scene last year, and now, with the release of his self-titled debut album, Malcolm puts his money where his mouth is. It's a lofty goal to be sure, but one he backs up with exciting beats and ear-catching wordplay.
Steven Malcolm quickly establishes himself as someone who can walk the fine line between humor and heart well. "Cereal" is a tongue-in-cheek ode to just about every kind of cereal you can imagine: "When it come to the size of the bowl / The bigger the better / Growing up I can only have some in the morning / But now it's whenever." "Party In The Hills," an upbeat pop track featuring Hollyn and Andy Mineo, is a laid-back, carefree exposition on enjoying life and having a good time with your friends. "Leh Get It" is CHH's answer to last year's breakout hit "Juju On That Beat," with a catchy hook that will probably be stuck in your head for a long time.
However, Malcom's strongest writing comes when he bares his soul. In "Can't Take My Dream," he proclaims "And so I write my wrongs / and hope that they relate / today they be so quick to judge and never know my pain / never know my struggle / just the battles that I lose / when there's defeat you'll find the strongest person in them shoes." "The Struggle" continues this theme as it explores the various temptations believers face in their everyday lives, stressing the importance of calling on God when he feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. Although Malcolm understands that life can get rough at times, he chooses to display the joy of the Lord. His optimism is infectious, making the album a feel-good listen even at its darkest moments.
All in all, Steven Malcolm is a blast to listen to. With thirteen tracks, there's something for everyone here. This is one of the rare albums that gets better the further it progresses, and repeat listens will provide a goldmine of new intricacies to discover. Malcolm says he wants to be the best Christian rapper. If he keeps this up, he just might be.
The Bottom Line: Steven Malcolm is an entertaining, accessible journey through the life of one of the most exciting rappers to hit the scene in a long time. You'll want to keep an eye on Malcolm. It's going to be a fun ride.
Song to Download Now:
"Leh Get It (feat. Pyrexx)" (Get it on iTunes here.)